Easterlings vs. Dwarf Rangers, New Rules!

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Easterlings vs. Dwarf Rangers, New Rules!

Postby BaronDeSade » Sat Dec 08, 2012 1:34 pm

In last night's game, my thousand points of Easterlings faced off against Tim's Dwarf Rangers. My set up was a normal one, of my three infantry/cavalry warbands making a battle line in the center while my heavy cavalry deployed on the left flank, where the terrain was more open. The Dwarfs more or less had a battle line in the center, except for one warband that was deployed forward to taunt the Easterlings. The scenario was “To the Death.”

The Easterlings began to trade bow-fire with the Dwarfs and I came out on the losing end of that match, losing five models in the first round. It was clear that I was going to have to get into melee with the Rangers as quickly as possible. One good thing was that my Easterling War Priest successfully cast the “Channeled” version of Fury, meaning that everyone around him would receive a 5+ save. Unfortunately, the Priest was defending my heavy cavalry, which wasn't where the Dwarf arrows were falling.

And so, my nearest Easterling warband lunged into combat with the Dwarfs, beginning a grand melee. On the left, my Kataphrakts were taking a long time to maneuver around a small hill, but while doing so they were keeping the elite Dwarf Iron Guard facing them and out of the main melee, so that was OK.

Since all of the Dwarfs carried axes, there was a lot of use of the new PIERCING STRIKE RULE on their part, which increases the strength of their attack if they win and reduces their defense if they lose. This was fairly useful for the Dwarfs as it aided them in cutting down my heavily armored Kataphrakts and Easterlings, and it was fairly amusing to me when they failed as it aided me in cutting down Dwarf Rangers. Tim said that some people were worried that this mechanic would slow down the game, but the increased casualties seemed to have made up for the extra dice rolls, so I didn't notice any slowing.

In return, my axe-armed Khandish Horsemen quickly began using the piercing strike attack when attacking individual Dwarfs. Given that I had two dice to the Dwarf's one, I was more likely to win, and four, increased-strength dice, against a prone opponent is deadly.

In the center, the Dwarf captains were better able to use their fighting skill and piercing strikes to perform heroic combats on my Easterlings than I could defend myself, so I was slowing losing. On the left flank, my Kataphrakts finally got into combat with the elite Dwarfs and their leaders, Balin and Floi Stonehands. Although my cavalry did knock down quite a few Dwarfs and kill some of those, the solid Dwarfs were able to take the hits of the Kataphrakts and mob the survivors. Since Fury is now an “Exhaustion” spell, though, it meant my War-Priest was able to take part in the fighting without worrying about losing his spell.

My general, Amdur, used a successful HEROIC STRIKE when he charged Balin, as Balin was out of Might and I wanted to do my best to make sure Amdur won that fight. Unfortunately, Amdur was unable to wound the Dwarf Hero.

Both armies broke on the same turn, which means that a good battle was being fought, with neither side having an overwhelming advantage. That still left more axe-armed Dwarfs on the board than Easterlings, though, and my army was ground down.

After the battle, I understood how my Easterling swordsmen should have been FEINTING the entire time when they were fighting Dwarfs, as the loss of fighting skill means nothing against an already superior fighter, and the “poison” effect of the feint maneuver may have been useful a few times.

I realize now, too, by how much the Kataphrakts are outclassed by the cheaper Khandish Horsemen. Not only can the Khandish Horseman fire a bow on the move, and not only does he have a higher fighting skill than the Kataphrakt, but he can use the piercing strike special rule which is much more powerful, IMO, than the feinting special rule. In return, the Khandish horseman gives up a few points of armor, but it seems to me that the value of armor has been reduced with the introduction of the piercing strike. In the past, my Easterling warriors could basically ignore common Orcs, but a common Orc with a military pick in his hand has now become a real threat.

Of the troops available to me, the new rules have made the Khandish Axemen a real threat, because they can now perform piercing strikes while a channeled Fury will keep them alive much longer. A Khandish King on a chariot next to them will have a wide radius of his banner-effect, and he can use the new rules for BARGE, REND and HURL with his chariot.

So it is time to give my other Khandish troops a second look. Sadly, the poor Kataphrakt only benefits from channeled Fury (which is admittedly nice) and feint in the new rules. As I have said, I consider piercing strike to be far superior to feint, especially on a cavalry model, so it seems that the Kataphrakts will return to the glass cabinet.

Tim wishes to try out his own Khandish army next week, so I will be making up a thousand-point Rohirrim force. The Rohirrim carry plenty of axes, and so I am looking forward to some piercing strikes, especially with Grimbold and his Helmingas.

Best,

BdS
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